Leaving the Garage Empty


Hopefully you have some time away planned for the summer. Even if it’s somewhere close, downtime is necessary to recharge and enjoy all the things you’ve worked so hard for. Don’t forget that a vacant house is a prime opportunity for a criminal to break in. There are plenty of ways to secure your house while you’re gone. Besides, you want to enjoy your vacation without the constant worry about what might be happening back home.

If you can find someone you trust, having a house sitter is the best way to go. They can water plants, feed pets and get the mail. If that’s not an option make sure you get a hold of the post office and stop mail delivery if you’re going to be gone for more than a couple days. There is still the potential that fliers might be left oo your doorknob or porch. You might have a neighbor watch out for those.

You’ve heard it before but don’t forget to put your lights on a timer to emulate someone being home. If you mow your lawn every week you may want to have someone take care of that chore so things don’t begin to look overgrown.

Alright, on to the garage!

Make sure you cover windows in the garage so a potential burglar doesn’t know if you car is gone. Put either a clamp or a padlock on the garage door track. That way if someone tries to slip a hangar in and grab the emergency release cord the door still won’t open.

Some things you may not have thought of but are equally important. Don’t announce you’re going on vacation on social media. It’s tempting to celebrate your hiatus but if the wrong person finds out, there goes all your valuables. Unplug any electronics that might burn power while you’re away.

Picking The Right Garage Door

GarageReplacing your garage door requires some thought and research. If you put in a little bit of work on the front end you’ll be much more pleased with the result. Design and color are important to ensure your new door/s line up with your home’s existing architecture. One of the top priorities should be the insulation.

Energy costs have not gone down and garage door insulation is just as important as all the other insulated areas in your home. The sales for garage doors with no insulation have gone down as people demand energy efficiency to save money. Garage usage has changed a bit over the years. More and more they are used as a work place, social gathering spot, not just for storage.


The R-Value is the measurement of how well a building material is insulated. A higher R-value reduces outside noise and helps the door operate more quietly. A couple common types of insulation are polyurethane and polystyrene foam. Most polystyrene insulated doors are thicker but have a lower R-value than polyurethane. So don’t be fooled by the thickness of the door!


A garage door is the largest moving object in your home making sure it operates safely is imperative. Pinch resistant garage doors are designed to push fingers out of harm’s way if they get placed too close to a door that’s closing. Tamper resistant bottom brackets reduce the risk of injury from garage door components under tension.


The length of life you will get out of your garage door is determined by what kind of material it’s made with.

  • Steel Garage Doors: durable with only an occasional need for cleaning and touch up
  • Vinyl Garage Doors: Vinyl do very well in harsh weather conditions, resist dents, rust free with no need to paint
  • Fiberglass Garage Doors: Made to look like a wood door but you will not have the maintenance associated with wood
  • Wood Garage Doors: Require painting or staining every few years, the work can be worth it due to added curb appeal
  • Aluminum Garage Doors: Relatively maintenance-free but may not have as much insulation as other doors

Picking out the right garage door can actually be a lot of fun. When you work with Norm’s you’ll find out just how much we love what we do.

Painting Your Garage Door

Garage doors are a huge part of your home’s first impression. When they’re looking worn it can create the illusion that your whole home needs work. Re-painting the garage door is a job anyone can do and the new look will really freshen up the image of your house.

Don’t Paint the Garage Door Wrong!

As simple as this improvement can be, doing it the wrong way could leave you with splatters on the driveway or old paint color on the ends of the panels when the garage door is opened. Here is a list of some things you’ll need to do it the right way.

  • 3-inch latex brush or Paint Sprayer
  • Sanding sponge
  • Exterior paint
  • 1-gallon work bucket
  • Rags
  • Dropcloth
  • Step stool

What about the Paint?

Photo credit: www.cnbhomes.com

Photo credit: www.cnbhomes.com

When it comes to the amount of paint you’ll need that depends on the type of garage door you have. Aluminum doors will need a bit less, wooden doors a bit more. If the new color is a drastic change from the old that could require more paint. You’ll also have to make the decision to either brush or spray the paint on. Make sure you consult with your local paint store on which method would work best for you.

Try to pick a day with little wind, not too hot or cold and make sure there will be no distractions to pull you away from your work. Unplug the garage door opener, and detach the door with the emergency release cord. This will eliminate the risk having an accident if the opener were to operate while you’re painting.

Start by roughing up the surface of the door with a sanding block to remove any dirt, cobwebs or oxidized paint. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just give it a good once-over. Make sure you’re drop cloth is down, any areas you want protected are taped off, and get painting. If you’re garage door is beyond the point of livening up with a fresh coat of paint get a hold of us to talk about a complete replacement.

Air Conditioning the Garage

You read that headline right.

garage air conditionersIt might seem like a great idea to air condition the garage but there are a lot of questions you have to ask before you jump on this project.


Most importantly, what are you using your garage for? Is it mainly to store stuff and park your cars? If that’s the case then throwing in an AC unit doesn’t really benefit you. Cars don’t need to be kept cool, and all the stuff you’re storing can most likely take a little heat and humidity anyway.

If you plan on using your garage as a wood working shop, a man cave or a hangout/ recreation room then keeping it cool comes into play. That being said, you don’t want to route your existing air conditioner to your garage. There is too much potential for dirty and dangerous air to be pulled into your home. A separate unit is the only way to go.

There are a few options when it comes to separate AC units!

  • Portable Unit – A portable is a freestanding unit that uses a tube to take in fresh air and expel heat.
  • Window Unit – Can be put in a double hung window or a hole can be made if no window exists.
  • Ductless Mini Split Unit – Works like a heat pump, uses an outdoor compressor/ condenser and indoor evaporator/ air handler. This option requires training so you’d have to consult a professional.

Don’t forget to consider how what type of insulation your garage has/ needs. Installing an air conditioner without proper insulation will certainly make it less efficient. Take a look at your garage doors as well. A high R value door will further energy savings. Here are some helpful tips Selecting the right garage door. Put your time in on research for this project so you don’t end with an inefficient set up.

Going to the Garage with the Lumber

Lumber-GarageProjects around the house are heating up with the weather, and lumber is starting to pile up. Some of the treated stuff can be left outside but what are you going to do with everything else?!? You may have already lost a parking space just to make room for that stack of half cut, when there’s time, almost done, wood.

When the piece that’s needed ends up at the bottom you end up wasting too much time digging, stacking and re-stacking.

Like any project in the garage when you’re searching for more real estate take the time to plan ahead. It’s a puzzle and lining things up will ensure a smooth layout. Off to the side or completely out of the way on ceiling are great options. Here are some great designs to consider.

You’ve picked a spot and the organization begins but don’t forget to see your projects through to completion.

Owning a home is dream but it can get overwhelming if you let it. Make that list, take care of the stuff that absolutely has to be done first and work your way from there. Too many materials and clutter is usually a sign that you’re biting off more than you can chew.

All the improvements you do may look stunning but just like anything in life, moderation is the key.

Don’t let summer go by without equal time to soak up some sun, relax with loved ones and most importantly spend time with the kids. Re-discover how fun it is to get out on the bike, play in the rain, or just crack some baseballs across the park. Most projects can be put on hold but your kids won’t be young forever. The memories you make with them will far outweigh any project you complete. After all they are your greatest creation.

Gone Fishing in the Garage

Amongst everything in the garage that needs a home, fishing rods should not be neglected. They get tangled up too easily in other clutter and if you’ve ever caught one to the face you know how essential a good storage spot can be. There’s no better medicine than packing up the gear and heading to your favorite fishing hole.

Starting with the design process

Take in to account how many fishing poles/rods you have and the potential places in the garage they would fit. Once you’ve picked a potential spot, take the longest fishing rod you have and measure to make sure the area will suffice. Don’t forget a little foresight as well. Will you be adding to your collection in the future? If so, plan accordingly.

Scanning the room and finding no available real estate? Look up!

Because they are lightweight, overhead storage is a great option! garage_storage This keeps them easily accessible and completely out of the way. Wherever you end up putting them, here are a few great designs!  Just remember to measure your longest rod first to make sure it will fit in the space you have in mind.

This simple start to organization may just be the catalyst for the rest of the garage. Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to tackle all the spring organization that needs to be done. Throw a line in water with this project and you may just catch some inspiration to help with other stuff that’s been piled up in the corner far too long! It’s kind of like a puzzle, once you’ve successfully placed one piece the rest will fall into place.

Get the fishing gear together and go relax, you have all summer to chip away at projects!


The Garage Summer Project

Warmer weather is coming. Really it is! When spring finally hits what do you have planned? Open the windows and knock the dust off or grab the lawn chairs and kick up your feet in the setting sun? Warm weather projects go smoothly if you have a headquarters. The hub of tools, materials and chairs to rest in when the day ends; the garage!

Garage Clean Up

So what are some things you can do to turn your garage into the summer project slayer? Start small with the most immediate needs first. Picking up, sweeping out and weeding through. You may even find enough stuff to plan your first garage sale. Here is a list to get the wheels turning a bit more.

  • Paint cupboards and drawers with chalkboard paint. Write using an erasable chalkboard pen for easier organization and labeling.
  • Designate zones in your garage. Such as an area for lawn care equipment, tools, food storage and recreational items. If you recycle, create a recycling zone with separate bins for plastic, glass, etc. to make the sorting process easier.
  • Use hooks on the wall for electrical cords, hoses, ropes and bungee cords so that they are accessible and off the floor.
  • Install shelving units into the joists of your garage ceiling for items you do not use frequently. These may include items such as holiday decorations or keepsakes. Once these are stored away properly, you will free up a lot more space on the garage floor.
  • Apply a garage floor coating while you do your spring clean-up instead of waiting until the summer. A coating can protect the surface of your garage from spills and tire treads and make next year’s clean up a breeze.

Remember, start small and branch out from there. With enough effort your garage will be the best in the neighborhood!

Busted Toys, Bloody Knuckles and World Issues

The kid’s cheap toys broke again, DON’T WORRY…to the cave! What awaits you is only the thin sound of humming lights. While the chaos continues back in the house, you escape! The power drill, fully charged, all the hardware needed to mend, not only the toy, but the sobs of a disappointed child! You throw on your safety glasses and in minutes, you’re ready to emerge from the cave as a hero!

When people think of a garage it normally conjures up an image of cars and containers. A place to throw cardboard until it’s broken down, a great landing pad for all the bikes and strollers, or just a large storage unit with no room left to park the car. The reality, for those who are squeezing the potential out of their garage, is entirely different.

Who easily wins for most epic garage ever?

Batman of course! Although, he has a cave; which may lead you to the all too typical “man cave”. Man Cave is an outdated term. Why not say the bat cave or…the bunker!? I know plenty of women who can navigate the bat cave; and let’s be honest…THAT’S SEXY!

Changing how you refer to your garage is just the start.

Once you get your storage in place, making room for the cars again, you’ll notice the true potential of a cave over a plain ole garage. If insulated properly, organized, clean and heated you have a place to escape, year round.


A simple start to organization…mason jars! They are fairly inexpensive; come in various sizes, and can sometimes be found on Craigslist at a discount. Just make sure you have an ample shelf to set them on. The shelf should be sturdy and level, so it can bear the weight and lower the risk of the jars sliding off. Remember, they ARE glass.

Start thinking about how your garage can be best used.

Like, year round, as a place to find peace and quiet, become a hero of fixing, share in a cold beer with friends, bust your hands up a bit working on your car, or, pull up a chair to talk things out with the neighbor. Once you have a vision of how your space needs to function then suit it to those needs. The result will even surprise you! Remember, it’s not just a garage!

Room Above, Expanding Your Garage

There is pure genius in discovering something new in something you already have possession of. Whole novels, Broadway plays and one of the most famous children’s stories of all time have enjoyed enormous success with this kind of thinking. Ok, so Dorothy was not tapping her red shoes together for her garage exactly, but that was because they didn’t have garages in the Wizard of Oz. YOU do!

Garage Storage Space Garage Storage Space

When is a garage not just a garage?

For starters, having extra living space is NICE. How about that studio you always wanted to have? The very height of the space above the garage gives you some built in privacy and a loftier view. (pun intended!)

This is your chance to have a log cabin in the woods without the log cabin! Your garage door can easily be designed to be looking like it’s made of old beams.

Maybe it’s a serene cottage in the country, complete with breakfast nook?

Aim high, make it a place to send your teenagers and their music to! Or aim even higher and make it a place to send your parents and their music to!

When it’s cold outside, you can be happy to know the beach is not in your yard, but you can still be going up into your own beach bungalow. You can even have a deck!

If already live where it’s warm and you are pleased to stay there, your room above can hold all your treasures your partner ‘doesn’t really care for’ the way you do. Why, that could even be your own fridge for your Limburger cheese.

Probably the biggest asset, after the fact that it’s your to do what you want, is you don’t ever have to worry about bothering the neighbors with any kind of noise you make.

What is in Your Garage?

Your car? Your bike? Sleds? Trash cans? Garden hose? Tools? Half buckets of paint and old rags? Perhaps that unadorned space that you repair broken things or spray paint things to freshen them up?

If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find it’s a place to ‘store or protect automobiles.’


HA! GARAGE is a state of mind!

Back in 1901, William Harley and Arthur Davidson started up a few projects in one.

In 1923 Walt Disney, and his brother Roy, hatched a few good ideas in theirs, too.

Shortly after 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard used one to make oscillators. (Walt Disney bought eight of these to use to make his block buster ‘Fantasia’ movie.)

It was in one of these, that doll houses made out of picture frames turned a few toys into ‘Mattel’ in 1945.

Every police officer carries a standard issue flashlight, a ‘Maglite’, created under such a roof, by Tony Maglica, a man from Croatia who could hardly speak English, in 1950.

Sixteen year old Michael Kittredge, in 1969, melted down crayons to create the beginning of Yankee Candle Company in one of these.

It was in 1976 that the two ‘Steves’ made theirs, their own garden of Eden putting an ‘Apple’ out as some new kind of fruit!

It was in one of these in 1994 that Jeff Bezos sold his first, of many books, under the roof of ‘Amazon’.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin borrowed one from Susan Wojcicki in 1998 to give ‘Google’ a home.